Kristin Davis on Being the White Mother of a Black Daughter: “It Fills Me with Terror”


Every now and then you come across an article with words that accurately capture your thoughts and feelings about a current event. This happened yesterday as I read an article on PEOPLE about Kristin Davis and her thoughts on interracial adoption:

“I am white. I have lived in white privilege. I thought I knew before adopting my daughter that I was in white privilege, that I understood what that meant. But until you actually have a child, which is like your heart being outside you, and that heart happens to be in a brown body, and you have people who are actively working against your child, it’s hard. It fills me with terror.”

Those words spoken by the former Sex and the City star are still ringing in my head. I couldn’t agree more. In a recent interview with WNYC’s Rebecca Carroll, Davis shared her heart over adopting a child from another race, the recent presidential election, and the learning curve of navigating a society that is still very much racially divided.

“I’m on the intense learning curve because I have to protect my child,” Davis shared. “I might have had the intellectual learning curve that we all hope and wish we have, but it’s different than the actual life that you’re on the line for. I have to protect my daughter at all costs.”

Her words took me back, 15 years in the past, when we held our newborn baby girl in our arms. I remember looking at her with a sense of awe. Her beautiful brown skin, exotic dark eyes, and soft brown hair captivated me. I remember feeling an intense love for her that still burns as brightly today as it did then. Love so deep, I never knew my heart could reach those depths.

But at the same time I felt these beautiful emotions, I also felt afraid. There was no question in our minds that she was ours. We were her parents and she was our daughter. But I worried about the world around us. For a moment, I feared what it would be like to raise this precious girl in white suburbia. I worried about the potential hateful things people would say to her, or do to her. I felt like taking our newborn baby and running far away, where no one could find us. With every ounce of my soul, I wanted to protect her.

But not our world, I thought. Not in today’s society. I lowered my guard. Slowly, fear and worry left my mind.

A few weeks ago, however, it returned as I watched the results of the election pour in. I identify with Davis when she shares:

“My initial thoughts on Wednesday morning was that I wanted to move to the woods and learn to shoot a gun. It makes no sense. I’m fully aware. I’m 100 percent aware that it literally makes no sense but … the fear of what is happening and how am I going to make sure that no one hurts my child, even in a subtle way, which was already a fear I had honestly, but it just became so, so heightened.”

Yep. I’m there, too. Not only do I feel fear, but I see it on my children’s faces. I hear their worry, I see their fear, I watch them grow uneasy as they watch everything that’s happening in our country right now. For the first time, they have had to face the reality of a world that may or may not accept them, or treat them fairly, because of the color of their skin. I hate that for them.

I get the learning curve Davis speaks of. We’re smack-dab in the middle of it. It is a curve we never anticipated having to figure out. But here we are. My hope is that through this madness, we will emerge a stronger, more unified, society. I can hope, so I will.

For now, I follow suit with Davis’s parenting … encouragement and affirmations. She tells her daughter “she’s beautiful  … she’s powerful … she’s a goddess.”

There’s never been a day in the lives’ of my daughters where I haven’t told them how beautiful they are … how stunning they are. Now, in light of current events, I just tell them this more on a daily basis. They need to hear this from us. They need to know they are leaders, and equal to anyone else in this world.

The learning curve is real … but I will figure it out.

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